Brooklyn’s Dining Case Study
The case discussed below is about a restaurant and a sports bar known as Brooklyn’s Dining, which underwent a change in management to bring about a more effective performance. However the change in management failed to get the desired results, on the contrary the sales of the restaurant showed a decline compared to the tenure of the previous manager. An analysis of the case is presented below to identify the reasons for this as well as for suggesting steps aimed at getting a better performance.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PLANNING PROCESS IN BROOKLYN’S LEADING TO CHANGE
The reason why the new owner of the Franchise, David Becker, had decided to replace the old manager with a new one was that this particular restaurant was doing poorly in terms of profit as compared to other restaurants in the chain. David Becker attributed this fact to poor planning and organization structure and decided to introduce the restructuring and policies implemented successfully by him to the other two restaurants owned by him. Critical examination of the old policies of the top and middle level managers shows that some of the practices used by them were flawed and needed improvement.
The previous owner of the franchise had not taken an active interest in the running of the restaurant leaving it upon the manager to run the affairs of the restaurant. Communication of goals from the top to middle level managers is absolutely necessary to run an organization which was clearly lacking in this case. The top management probably did not convey to Shirley, the former manager that the franchise was performing below average of the others in the chain and took no steps to improve the current status either. Instead he decided to sell the franchise to another owner. It is the top managers who are responsible for setting the goals and directing the organization which is also the basis on which the middle level managers plans its course of action and allocates resources to the functions. Without any effective communication from the owner, Shirley the restaurant manager did not have a long range vision or a specific goal for the staff and she ran the restaurant on a situational response basis. She did not set any performance goals for food and bar sales or promptness of service. Without the standard to measure performances of the servers, hosts or cooks she could not track their efficiency even though her staff was competent and assigned responsibilities to match their abilities. Moreover she was content running the organization on a day to day basis and did not ask for any feedback from the owner which could guide her in formulating a plan to deliver better results.
Shirley had also not worked out a contingency plan to deal with the peak days which resulted in confusion, poor service quality and dissatisfaction of customers. Also this contributed in loss for the restaurant as dissatisfied customers had to be compensated. The restaurant also served as a sports bar and though it was expected that on the days of matches, there will be a surge in the number of customers, Shirley failed to foresee this and plan accordingly. Instead of reallocating responsibilities and reorganizing resources to handle the rush efficiently, she just adjusted the roles as the situation demanded which proved to be an insufficient planning. If she had assigned the responsibilities and developed a standing plan in advance to meet the additional demand expected, she could have managed to cope during peak hours and prevented the confusion or delay in service.
Although Shirley displayed her skills in extracting cooperation and teamwork from her subordinates, she clearly lacked the motivating skills. She did not point out to the employees that pleased customers meant extra income as tips for the servers neither did she design any incentive scheme for the additional workload. If she had paid attention to this aspect of planning, not only there would have been lesser instances of complaints on peak days, the restaurant would have registered an increase in profit too. Her planning was faulty in the aspects that it lacked specific goals, a standing plan to deal with increase in demand and a scheme to motivate her staff.
ISSUES OF MORALITY, ETHICS AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
The new manager Kevin, appointed by the new owner had behavioral issues with his subordinates which could be termed as unethical. His personal behavior during work showed instances of immorality too. One such incident is reflected by his behavior when he had locked himself behind the office door and refused to open even when the situation outside demanded his immediate attention. When he opened the door he said that he was discussing something important on the telephone and went back inside for another 45 minutes, refusing to provide any help to the servers. His excuse was construed as a white lie which amounts to immoral behavior. His behavior indicated gross neglect of duty in favor of attending to personal issues which he made up to be an important call and misusing organizational resources for personal purpose. Closing the door and remaining absent from the scene of action when his supervision and direction to the staff was badly needed on a busy night due to a soccer game showed his deliberate neglect of priorities and showed an insensitive attitude. All such behavior reflects transgression of moral behavior. Apart from these moral issues, Kevin’s entire demeanor presented an unethical inclination; his attempts to get work done by threatening his subordinates of termination display an unethical approach to pressurize his subordinates. He constantly reminds the staff that they are on probation and even if they have been working in the restaurant for many years they can be thrown out at his discretion shows that he did not have much respect for seniority, something that is against the accepted norms of society. On the night of soccer game, his unrealistic allocation of work had created pressure and stress in the workplace that further contributed to inefficient performance. Trying to extract more work than is humanly possible showed that his methods of coping with extra workload may not be always ethical. He exhibited a downright unethical side when he failed to unlock his doors and respond to the employees’ problems, instead his outright refusal to help during emergency added to his impression of rude behavior. His unethical disposition can be further adjudged from his attempt to evade responsibility for the poor performance and shifting the blame on his subordinates when he had to explain the reason of the poor performance which was the worst up till now. This is perhaps also the reason why the staff crossed the limits of ethical behavior amounting to breach of confidentiality and complained about his unreasonable behavior to the owner.
The Organizational Culture of Brooklyn’s Dining presents entirely different aspects before and after the change in management. While the organizational culture before was one of understanding and team spirit even if there was a lack of objectives and vision, the culture after the ownership change was one of hostility and stress, signified absence of faith in management’s intentions and lacked transparency and openness of behavior although the new manager tried to introduce concepts of evaluation and monitoring. During the tenure of Shirley as a manager, the employees were consulted by her on management issues showing confidence in their abilities and empowering them to participate in decision making. Although there were responsibilities assigned to the employees at all levels, it also reflected an informal culture marked by team work especially when responsibilities were adjusted according to the demands on the peak hours. The overall atmosphere was friendly and stress free and the open door custom encouraged and practiced by the management further accentuated the transparent culture of the place. But in the absence of any clear goals or performance standards there was a marked lack of motivation to perform better. The culture was not one of sharing of information between top and middle management and therefore the empowerment that was delegated below was of no use for formulating operating goals or setting standards. On the other hand the new manager professed to introduce a more formal culture by putting barriers between him and the subordinates. He clearly demarcated boundaries between roles by refusing to help each other in their work. In the new culture the roles were more defined without any overlapping and the manager himself did not extend any help to the staff during crisis. Before putting the staff on probation, the new management failed to consult the older employees on the issue which indicates that the new culture did not encourage transparency or empowerment. Kevin’s threatening and condescending attitude had changed the atmosphere from friendly to one of hostility and suspicion. This sudden transformation was not easy to adapt and the performance suffered on the soccer game night. Without cooperation from the manager or each other there was confusion resulting in poor service, mismanagement of deliveries and customer dissatisfaction which cost the restaurant its reputation and revenues both. Thus the new culture became one of hostility, suspicion and secretiveness.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR REGAINING EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE
At present the organization represents a centralized structure where all decisions are made by the Head manager, Kevin and who reports directly to the owner. Since this restaurant is larger both in terms of size and demand, delegating all decision making powers to Kevin would not be advisable. A more decentralized structure would be more appropriate where a new manager who is in charge of the bar must be appointed and who would supervise a team of hosts, servers and the bartenders and report directly to the owner. This purpose could be served by designing a functional departmental type of structure where the two departments would be the bar and the dining service. A division of responsibilities between the two functional areas would help in lowering the workload during peak hours, avoid confusion and provide prompt and better quality service. Additional recruitment of employees may be required to improve efficiency if the existing number of staff proves to be inadequate to handle the load during busy days. Thus the line of reporting that would be followed will consist of the owner commanding two middle level managers who in turn would command supervisors that supervised a team of servers. Each rank would be assigned a set of responsibilities that would be flexible to cope with contingencies. Rigidity of the line of command will not be followed at all times; the staff can be moved to the other department if the situation so demands. The decision making structure should not be centralized; decisions should be arrived at after consultation with first line managers or supervisors. Similarly the goals and visions must be conveyed to the first line managers through the middle level managers. This should ensure better participation from the staff and motivate them to perform better. Brooklyn’s previous structure had the advantage that the staff could take on multiple responsibilities during busy hours. This factor can be used in present job designs where the staff can be directed to assume a different responsibility or handle multiple responsibilities apart from the tasks assigned to him during regular hours. To summarize, the best possible structure to regain an effective performance is the departmentalization type with two separate functional areas, the bar and the dining service. Each department would be assigned a different set of staff supervised by a first line manager viz. the supervisor, who would be responsible for making the day to day decisions depending on the demand intensity and the goals set by the middle level managers. The quantity of work force will be assigned to each department depending on the volume of activity handled by the department on regular days. However this arrangement will have a flexible element attached to it in so much as to make a temporary move to the other department to accommodate an extra influx of customers as compared to regular hours. Decision making will not be concentrated into the head manager’s discretion only. He or she should base his decisions on the suggestions and information from the first line manager in synergy with the visions, mission and goals of the organization formulated at the top.
It is expected that by bringing in the above changes the new owner will be able to realize the organizational goal of increasing profits and improving the quality of dining service to the customers.